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For Orchard Park, new Democratic chief

Despite capturing two spots on the Town Board in the past two years, Orchard Park Democrats have chosen a new leader.

Gary Wojtan, who had served as acting chairman for much of the past two years, was defeated by Committeeman Daniel NeMoyer in a weighted vote of committeemen.

"I saw that the candidates out there could use some help, and I felt that I'd be able to help them," NeMoyer said. "So I decided I'd step up and do it."

The vote was relatively close, with about a 100-vote difference out of about 3,000 votes, said Wojtan.

NeMoyer is the public affairs officer for the Erie County Water Authority. Wojtan is an attorney.

"It's very personally disappointing," Wojtan said. "Dan NeMoyer is a good guy, and I'm wishing him well. There's no bad blood, and I think he'll get good candidates."

Mary Travers Murphy, who isn't registered with a political party but who ran with Democratic support, won the town supervisor job in 2005 in the overwhelmingly Republican town.

Last year, political newcomer Deborah Yeomans ousted incumbent Republican Stanley Jemiolo Jr. from the Town Board.

But along the way, Wojtan irritated some Democrats with his more aggressive approach to campaigns. He took some heat when the party didn't renew its participation in a "no political signs" agreement with the town's other parties, putting signs near polling places.

NeMoyer said he didn't see that there would be many strategic differences between him and Wojtan.

The outgoing chairman was Tom Glenn, the longtime town leader. He had been less active in recent years.

NeMoyer's father is Court of Claims Judge Edgar C. NeMoyer. His uncle, Patrick, is a State Supreme Court justice.

NeMoyer, 45, was a Democratic committeeman in Buffalo before moving to Orchard Park.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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